A few weeks ago I found myself watching the last 10 minutes of the Roseanne (sitcom) finale. In those final minutes Roseanne monologues about achieving her dreams and in doing so she learned:
- to make dreams come true you need to action a plan; and
- the biggest hurdle to achieving our dreams is ourselves.
Roseanne fan or not, she hit the nail on the head and she got me thinking about how we went from the idea of caravanning full time to actually doing it. Believe me when I say it didn’t just happen. It took planning and a lot of hard work. But is it worth it? Absolutely!
Here our tips to help you do it too:
Over the course of our lives we all have dreams, some of these are dreams that speak to our spirit and really tap into what is important to us. Deciding and making a clear deliberate choice to pursue the dream of caravanning Australia, is the key here. This is when you decide to make your dream a reality.
Travel is something Daryl and I share a love of and like many others, we have in the past travelled as often as we could, restricted by our family, work and financal commitments and obligations.
For me personally that moment of deciding to turn the dream into reality can best be described as a ‘brain flash’. It was a moment my spirit said “finally she hears me!” The moment of course passed when my mind turned to thinking about everything that would need to be done and a very mild panic set in.
PLANNING: GOALS and TASKS (LISTS)
There is a well known quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin “failing to plan is planning to fail.” It is true. You need a plan going forward. A plan that will provide guidance and direction towards achieving your dream.
Broadly speaking our planning fell under these three categories with these over arching goals:
- Getting rid of items of non sentimental value or of no use when caravanning
- Prepare the house for tenants
- Reduce debt
- Save, save, SAVE!
- Set Up (Caravan and Tow Vehicle):
- Purchase our home on the road
- Purchase tow vehicle
For those of you with children you will need to add
- Schooling (if needed)
- Everything children need (sorry I am a bit blank on this one)
A plan or goal is nothing until it is actioned. Therefore the next thing to do is to determine what tasks you will need to complete to achieve each of the broad goals. The key here is to be as practical and concrete as possible.
Personally I wrote to do lists. Lots of to do lists. I had lists of my lists! I found that helped me for a number of reasons:
- Being visual, lists are a fantastic reminder of what needs to be done
- By writing a task down on a list it no longer took up space in my head and Daryl could take responsibility for doing his share
- There is real sense of those small achievements when one by one each completed task is crossed off. Seriously, do not even kid how exciting it is to complete a list!
I would add here that when starting our to do lists we did not come with a list that had absolutely 100% everything we needed to do. Neither will you. It is simply not possible nor is it necessary or practical. Instead we found that as one list is being completed another list formed and this cycle continued until the days before we left.
Just start with your first list and go from there. Over our nine months of preparing to get on the road I wrote lists on my phone, on my fridge and on my computer. I wrote lists at home, in the car, at work, anywhere things came into my head. It seemed that when something was done, the next logical task revealed itself.
Initially our to do lists or tasks were quite broad such as
- Repaint the master bedroom
- Create a weekly budget
- Research the cost of caravans and their features (we really had no clue in the beginning)
- So on and so forth
As time went on the tasks on our lists became much more specific:
- Saturday purchase paint for spare room
- Sunday take rubbish to the tip
- Ring phone and internet provider to cancel account
- List fridge on internet for sale
- So on and so forth
Keep working on putting together your lists of tasks. My advice is if you think of something that needs doing write it down. I also know not everyone works to lists so come up with a system or method that works for you.
COMMITMENT and HARD WORK
Dreams rarely come true because you wish for them to do so. No matter how hard or sincerely you wish, what it takes more often, is commitment and damn hard work as well as sheer determination and focus. So now that you have an idea of what tasks you need to do, the next thing is you HAVE to do is ACTION them.
As noted above I used lists to keep track of what needed to be done and what had been completed. We got through everything by applying one main principle: do at least one thing every day towards your goal. And we did. Every day without fail. Some days this one thing was something significant like purchasing our caravan Josephine (big day!) or putting in our resignations, and others were small things like giving away a belonging or emptying a drawer. It didn’t matter what the task was as long as it was something.
Task by task, day by day, we:
- House: We got rid of or packed up all our belongings. Completed renovations and found tenants.
- Finances: Paid off debts (not including the mortgage unfortunately), put a heap in savings and sorted out the automatic payment of bills.
- Set Up (Caravan and Tow Vehicle): We purchased Josephine and Walter and filled them with items we needed on the road.
- Children: Prepare them and for their needs on the road as required.
DETERMINE YOUR LEAVING DATE
This, determining your leaving date, can be one of the hardest decisions to make. You want to allow enough time to comfortably and practically complete all the tasks you need to do. There is also often the added factor of the commitments you may have to family, friends and work. It is important I feel to say, there is never going to a perfect time to set off. Instead what I found was it is important to remember that we are talking about traveling Australia not another world. And I, you and others really are only a phone call away.
Determining your leaving date may also not be something you decide in the first weeks or months of starting your journey to getting onto the road. It may be, like it was for us, that you may want some time to see how efficiently you can get through some initial tasks before determining your date. Then once you do, lock it in as securely as you can so that it doesn’t keep drifting further and further into the future and become unattainable. We did this by purchasing our tickets on the Spirit of Tasmania, this became our non negotiable date and we worked tirelessly to ensure we got on that ferry!
BEING ACCOUNTABLE: TELL OTHERS
Telling others has its benefits of:
- Sharing in the excitement
- Making us accountable to others.
Be wary too when telling others. When I told my family, friends and colleagues our plans to hit the road indefinitely there was definitely encouragement and interest from most. However there were also the skeptics, naysayers and doubting Thomas’s telling me all the reasons we couldn’t and shouldn’t.
Regardless of others thoughts or attitudes, it was only Daryl and I who had the responsibility for making it happen. It was us who had to be brave in face of the doubts, what ifs and uncertainty and go for it. And it many ways it was my determination (translate: stubbornness) that wanted to pursue our dream despite these (few) negative people.
BE RUTHLESS BUT FLEXIBLE
Try to remember these two things when pursuing your dream of caravanning Australia:
- Be relentless in completing the tasks necessary to achieve your dream.
- Know life is happening now too.
By this I mean, make your decision to pursue your dream of caravanning Australia a top priority but in doing so do not miss out on the important things that are happening in your life now. It is possible to do both.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
The best analogy I can give is it is a bit like a diet. Just because you eat a packet of chocolate biscuits does not mean the entire diet is over or a failure. It is a minor set back only. It is possible to get back on track by eating something healthy for your next meal.
It is the similar with pursuing your dream to travel Australia. If you get exhausted, frustrated and have thoughts of how endless the tasks are (which you will many times), do not give up. Just reassess or accept the unmotivated bad days and complete a small task on your list (remember do one thing every day) and do your best work towards completing the (bigger) tasks on your motivated good days. In the end if you keep pursuing your dream, in time, task by task it all gets done.
Pursuing our dreams that speak to our spirit gives our lives meaning and purpose. Traveling Australia is one such dream achieved by numerous people every year. There is no reason, with some hard work that you cannot be one of them. Best of luck and we hope to see you on the road!